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Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion Paperback – MiniDV, February 22, 2011
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--"The Los Angeles Times
"Destined to become a classic of both urban reportage and contemporary spirituality."
--"The Los Angeles Times
"A spiritual masterpiece touching the innermost sanctum of the human soul. Boyle approaches each person as a child of God and fully deserving of love and compassion. His capacity to reach the heart of the most hardened, and to see the best in everyone, inspires. I laughed, wept, and underlined on virtually every page."
--KERRY KENNEDY, FOUNDER OF THE RFK CENTER FOR JUSTICE AND HUMAN RIGHTS
"An astonishing book . . . about suffering and dignity, death and resurrection, one of my favorite books in years. It is lovely and tough and tender beyond my ability to describe and left me in tears of both sorrow and laughter."--ANNE LAMOTT, AUTHOR OF GRACE (EVENTUALLY)
"An extraordinary reflection of a life totally committed to reshaping and redirecting the lives of countless young gang members (from L.A.'s gang culture), Greg Boyle's Tattoos on the Heart proves one man with courage is a majority." --MARTIN SHEEN
"Father Boyle reminds us all that every single child and youth is a part of God's 'jurisdiction'--and when they know that we are seeing them as God does, they are capable of great things. Father Boyle is a national treasure."
--MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN, PRESIDENT, CHILDREN'S DEFENSE FUND
"One of the bravest, most humane, heartbreaking, brilliant, and hopeful stories I've read in ages. Father Greg, the Gandhi of the Gangs, fills Tattoos with unquenchable soul force and down-to-earth love." --JACK KORNFIELD, AUTHOR OF A PATH WITH HEART
"Sometimes we are allowed to see in our own lifetimes what we were supposed to see in the life and ministry of Jesus. Read, and let your life be changed!"
--FATHER RICHARD ROHR, O.F.M., CENTER FOR ACTION AND CONTEMPLATION, ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO
"Tattoos on the Heart is an astounding book and a remarkable testament. No one brings more triumph and tragedy to the street gang story than Greg Boyle. No one brings more conviction and compassion than Greg Boyle. And no one writes the gang story more beautifully."
--MALCOLM KLEIN, PROFESSOR EMERITUS, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
"Tattoos on the Heart is an honest, raw, and compelling collection from Father Greg Boyle's life and work with gang-involved youth. His commitment should teach us all a lesson in compromise, sharing, learning, loving, and, most important, living life to the fullest." --ANJELICA HUSTON
About the Author
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I came across the book when I saw it featured in a bookstore and decided to give it a try.
I had stopped reading for the past decade or two. It has been mostly Netflix and Kdrama.
I would start books and then never get past page 30.
This wasn't just a book you coudln't put down. It's a book that grabbed a hold of you and shook you to your core.
What a hero! What a man of God! What guts! What complete abandon!
No wonder he looked exhausted (when I saw him 20 years ago).
I was reminded of apostle Paul's paradoxical statement about his life and ministry 2 Cor 6
"We put no obstacle in anyone's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything."
Another reason why I feel such a deep sense of respect and admiration for Father G is that after my senior year in college, I went and worked in the inner city of Camden, New Jersey for 6 weeks and it was one of the toughest times of my life.
We worked with kids and teenagers in one of the most gang/crime/drug infested parts of the country.
I felt so overwhelmed and helpless. It was affecting me emotionally and physically.
Such a ministry is not done casually - it doesn't happen unless you give yourself completely to the community and put your life on the line.
And it's not something you do in your own strength and wisdom.
Father Greg is often on the news and he does get some publicity - but not enough. Compare what he does to the billions of dollars spent on the war against drugs, against gangs, against crime.
He is a one man war on gang/crime/drugs. And he's winning because his weapon is the love of Christ incarnated daily in his life.
Don't read this book if you are offended by colorful language, for G-dog tells it like it is. And he lets his gang members do the same. You will learn about the different gangs and their interactions, yet will know no names. G-dog doesn't give any individual gang the glory...he treats them all equally. As I finished this book, I knew I would have a hard time living among the gangs, but God has called us all to different parts of the body. G-dog gets involved in so many lives, from before birth as he tells of a young girl gang-raped and pregnant, to handling over 150 funerals of gang members, many of which he has known since childhood. Thank you, Father Boyle, for serving where God prepared you to serve.
The book is written from over 30 years of working among the gangs through Homeboy Industries. The stories abound with courage, faith and with laughter. You'll find yourself laughing out loud and wiping your eyes, either with amusement or hurt for a fellow human. The name of the book came from a gang-member..."G-dog,,,I'm gonna tattoo that on my heart." Reading this book left a tattoo on my heart also!
Top international reviews
The author has the ability to plant little truth bombs that explode in your heart and mind and cause you to see people and situations in a different light. The story is also a real inspiration for anyone who wants to do something daring but feels discouraged. This is a story of faith and little steps that amount over 20 years to a miraculous ministry. Thousands of lives have been impacted, yet you get the sense that Gregory Boyle just turned up day in day out and related to the people who came across his path.
I don't want to spoil the book for you, but do yourself a favour and read it. I love too how all the proceeds from the book are going to Homeboy Industries - one of the great stories that runs through most of the pages. A real inspiration, a real eye opener, a really good read!
How wrong I was, Boyle is so honest and humble with compassion that frankly would probably put most Christians, nay Jesus to shame. I think I cried through 95% of the book, precisely because he didn't ham up the tragic stories that fill the pages. I think his amazing honesty also comes from the gangs he works with, which is what makes it a beautiful rollercoaster of emotions. As a non-christian/religious person, I didn't find his references to the teachings of Jesus tiresome, in fact they were reflective and thought provoking. Moreover, Boyle seemed as likely to uses the words of Emily Dickinson, William Blake and Buddha as he is the bible.
Kudos to Boyle, Homeboy Industries, his belief in people that lets them believe in themselves, and the recurring idea of standing next to the people we demonize. This is a guy who practices what he preaches (and still thinks he doesn't do enough). What a story.
Very pleased with my purchase.
Was delivered very quickly by wordery.